| Saturday May 28th 2016

The raid that rocked the Met: Why gun and drugs op on 6,717 safety deposit boxes could cost taxpayer a fortune

It’s gonna cost the cops, and us taxpayers, probably 10 times what they netted in actual criminal proceeds once the operation’s finances has been collated from all the investigations and several hundred court cases of “slightly suspect” boxes with the cops paying out a 6 figure sum in each to resolve the trials on the basis that the suspects are legit after all.

All this will erode the credibility of the operation and the senior officers involved and any criminal with a good lawyer will tear them to shreds and get back their seized property.

In all, more than 500 officers had gathered to receive orders to raid smart addresses in well-heeled parts of the capital. UK safety deposit boxThe locations included three of Britain’s largest and most well-established safety-deposit box depositories in Edgware, Hampstead and Park Lane as well as an office and the homes of the three directors of Safe Deposit Centres Ltd, which owned the vaults – two in Hampstead and one in Barnet.

For most of those at the briefing, arriving just before 3pm on June 2 last year, this was the first they had heard of the operation. Secrecy had been paramount and, with so many involved, keeping the operation ‘airtight’ had been one of the largest headaches in the pre-planning for what was codenamed ‘Rize’.

The police rolled through London in a convoy: scores of patrol cars, armed-response vehicles, outriders on their bikes, vans with their windows shielded by metal cages. With a Met film unit recording everything, detectives forced their way past startled security guards, demanding receptionists open the secure doors that led to the normally hushed strong rooms, which in the three centres housed 6,717 safety deposit boxes.

I suspect a lot of heads will roll in the Met after this farce has been concluded and if the CPS have any sense, they will refuse to prosecute any further cases unless the evidence is extremely strong.


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